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How Sandeep Singh moulded Taapsee Pannu into a hockey pro for Soorma

The making video from Soorma's behind-the-scenes training sessions captures the actress's antics, joy, and the rigorous training process in the game of hockey. 

Shriram Iyengar

Hockey might be the national game of India, but its depiction onscreen is all the more challenging. For Taapsee Pannu, who plays a professional hockey player in Shaad Ali's Soorma (2018), the training came right from former India captain, Sandeep Singh. The biopic, based on Singh's life and career, will see Pannu play a female hockey player. While she has been a sportsperson, Pannu found the going a little tough under the tutelage of Singh. From coming late to being distracted by director Ali's noises, the actress ran through the gamut of excuses before turning in her professional attempt.

The making video offers a closer glimpse at the work and hours of physical training that went into transforming Pannu into a professional hockey player. Praising Singh's coaching, she says, "Sandeep was probably the nicest coach I had for a game I had never tried." The actress is an avid sportsperson and has played squash during her school and college years. But hockey is a different ball game.

From learning to handle the hockey stick to dribble with it, and even scoring goals, the actress had to build her stamina and skill sets. Not that it came easy. The video reveals Singh complaining, "Already 2 session missed hain, aur 2 session late hain" (She has already missed two sessions and is late for 2 sessions). Despite that, the coach still praised her for being on time, and working on the basic skills of the game.

But the coach had his vengeance by asking the actress to do 'baajiyaan' (somersaults). Laughing, Pannu admits, "He always wanted me to do baajiyaan, first thing in the morning." To be fair, the actress had it easy, since she only had to do it for 15 minutes. Professional hockey players, as Singh says, do it for 2 hours every morning.

The training also seems very different from the one Diljit Dosanjh underwent, in another making video. Where Dosanjh went through strength and drag-flick training, Pannu seemed to train more on skill sets.

With Singh offering the tips, Soorma seems to be shaping up to be an authentic hockey film. The film will be released on 13 July.

Watch the training video below: